Reykjavík – Health and wellnessday
The city of Reykjavik is a contemporary city, which offers all the creature comforts of modern day life, as well as excitement and adventure. Reykjavik city is the capital city and the only city in Iceland. It is the most northerly capital in the world and was originally settled by Norwegian and Celtic people, as indeed all of Iceland was. The meaning of the name Reykjavík is “Smokey cove” as there were various steam vents and hot springs clearly visible to the first settlers.
Reykjavik had a slow start in its formation from a cluster of farms to a city. Slowly but surely, other characteristics became dominant, such as various industries, workshops, fisheries, parliament etc… And in the 18th and 19th century, Reykjavik had established itself as the centre of government, administration, education and healthcare, as well as having a dominant place in the trade business between Icelanders and foreign countries.
Nearly 40% of Iceland‘s population lives in Reykjavík, or ca. 115.000 people.
|STARTING POINT: LAUGARDALUR|
In the heart of Reykjavik you will find Laugardalur, the recreation, activity and sports valley. Start your day with a stroll through the beautiful botanical gardens, where the visitor will find an impressive selection of arctic flowers and plants. The garden spans over 2,5 hectares and contains over 5.000 plants. In the botanical gardens you will also find the “washing springs” or “washing pools”, geothermal hot springs, which will give you a glimpse into the history of the city. The washing pools were the first trial wells in Reykjavik, while searching for hot water for space heating. The washing pools were used by the women of Reykjavik to the laundry. The root of Reykjavik’s energy company lie in the washing pools.
After a nice stroll through the botanic garden (about 1 1⁄2 hours), head to the Café Flora. Café Flora is located in the botanic garden and offers a nice selection of healthy options for lunch
Go skating. The indoor ice-skating rink is in Laugardalur, near Café Flora. Allow yourself the joy of sliding on the ice; it’s a good exercise and fun. The skating rink has skates of all sizes and styles for rent and other equipment needed to enjoy the sport. The ice skating rink in Laugardalur is designed for ice-hockey and figure skating, as well as leisure skating for the general public.
Head to the Reykjvik Art Museum / Ásmundarsafn art museum nearby. Ásmundarsafn is dedicated to the life work of sculptor Ásmundur Sveinsson (1893 – 1982). Ásmundur found inspiration in Icelandic nature, literature, history and people. The building itself and the artwork inside and out, are quite unique and well worth the visit.
End your day of exploring Laugardalur in the Laugardalslaug swimming pool. The locals love to meet at the pool to socialize, and solve life’s problems and challenges. The whole pool system is micro-example of the people and social life of the people of Reykavík. The pool is an Olympic size pool (50m) and swimming is a great way to relax and unwind. The soothing geothermally heated waters, hot tubs, saunas and miniature pools, are simply sublime.
From the swimming pool, you can easily access a running track if you feel like a quick run. I not, then we suggest enjoying the rest of the day, exploring Reykjavik city centre, the shops, museums and restaurants.